StoriesBy Maura Moynihan
"East meets West in Moynihan’s
wry, knowing debut collection, so evocative of modern-day India that
readers can smell the temple incense."
— Publishers Weekly
"YOGA HOTEL is a charming and delightful
book. It offers great insight into the world of India."
— Ismail Merchant
"YOGA HOTEL is made up of beautifully
written stories about the encounters between Westerners and Indians,
encounters that are by turns comic and heartbreaking. Moynihan has a
wonderful ear for the spoken English of India."
— Peter Bergen, author of Holy War,
In her impressive fiction debut,
YOGA HOTEL (ReganBooks; on-sale August 12, 2003; $13.95), Maura Moynihan
deftly probes the often precarious interplay between ordinary Indians
and the wealthy Westerners who swarm to the subcontinent with political
agendas or in quest of spiritual enlightenment. With subtle, yet rapier
wit and keen insights into everyday life in India, Moynihan captures
this peculiarly contemporary form of culture clash as she weaves stories
that resonate with timeless, universal truths about human aspirations
About the Author:
__ The American-born
Moynihan first went to India as a teenager, when her father served there
as U.S. Ambassador. She now divides her time between New York City,
New Delhi, and Kathmandu, Nepal, where she worked for many years as
a refugee researcher and advocate. While the stories in this collection
are informed by the political issues that percolate throughout the region,
they are not overtly political in their telling. Moynihan's narratives
are fundamentally human stories, grounded in the everyday, and laced
with the details that both bring people together and set them apart.
__ Though a Westerner herself, Moynihan
manages to penetrate the psyche of her Indian characters. In "A
Good Job in Delhi," Hari comes from a provincial town to take a
job as a servant for an Englishman who works for the World Bank. Hari
is both dazzled and perplexed by his boss's lifestyle, and when he dares
to partake in unaccustomed freedom himself, he finds himself torn between
the two worlds. Another Indian, the social-climbing Mrs. Mehta, is flummoxed
when her neighbor manages to snag a beautiful American boarder in "Paying
Guest." In "The Visa," misunderstandings abound as a
group of upwardly mobile Indians vie for the attention of an American
consulate worker who has the power to issue them the coveted permission
to visit the United States.
__ The two darkest
stories focus on Americans and their misguided encounters with the Indian
populace. "In the Heart of Braj" echoes Forster's A Passage
to India, as a young American woman succumbs to the more ecstatic aspects
of Indian religion. A callow U.N. functionary faces his own cowardice
as politically reality clashes with idealism in "High Commissioner
__ The centerpiece
of the collection is "Masterji," a novella-length story about
a group of Western spiritual pilgrims who descend with a thud upon a
small Himalayan town. As the dying guru contemplates who will become
his successor, the self-centered disciples--including a globe-trotting
heiress who "collects gurus like furniture," a macho American
movie star, and a well-intentioned, if clueless rich girl--interact
with the locals. Their deep ignorance of the harsh realities of Indian
life leads to a tangle of events that wreaks havoc in the guest house
where they stay.
__ When YOGA HOTEL was published in India,
The Times of India said "the stories overflow with humor and candor,"
while the weekly newsmagazine Outlook said that Maura Moynihan's writing
"is shot through with a welcome wry humor.... [and] considerable
grace." Moynihan's clear-sighted, entertaining literary debut lends
a finely-tuned new voice to the chorus of top-flight authors writing
about India today.
Maura Moynihan, a designer, musician,
and writer, has lived intermittently in India since her father was the
US ambassador there. Her screenplays have been bought by Merchant Ivory,
and her clothing line "SoSari" is now being sold through Saks
Fifth Avenue. A recent signatory with BMI as a singer-songwriter, Moynihan
divides her time between New York City, New Delhi, India, and Kathmandu,
About the Music:
The publication of "YOGA HOTEL,"
the Book, is accompanied by the release of the musical CD, "YOGA
HOTEL," (MajorSongs) written by Ms. Moynihan. These songs are also
inspired by the author’s journeys across the Indian subcontinent.
In songs that explore the themes of "East Meets West," Ms.
Moynihan sings in English, Hindustani and Tibetan, and blends guitar
and sitar, Indian and western flute and percussion, in songs that explore
the themes of "East Meets West." The music videos from "YOGA
HOTEL" can be seen on Asian television, and won the 2001 All Nepal
About the Book:
YOGA HOTEL: Stories By Maura Moynihan
On-sale August 12, 2003
Trade Paperback Original, $13.95
For further information or to arrange an interview,
please contact Jennifer Suitor at: